Uterine fibroids are muscular growths that form inside your uterus. They range in size, shape, and location, and they’re very common. In fact, up to 80% of women get fibroids during their lives.
Fibroids are almost always benign (noncancerous), and they don’t cause noticeable symptoms for most women. Unfortunately, one of the symptoms that can arise is intense pain.
If you have chronic pelvic pain, heavy periods, or even frequent urination, it could be uterine fibroids — and treatment can relieve your discomfort.
Farly Sejour, MD, Natalie Gould, WHNP-BC, and our team at Solace Women's Care provide expert fibroid care for women of all ages.
Uterine fibroids: The source of your pelvic pain?
Fibroids can be smaller than a pinhead or large enough to distort the shape of your uterus. Small fibroids often go unnoticed, because they don’t cause symptoms. The larger the fibroid is or the more fibroids you have, the more likely you are to notice symptoms.
The most common symptom of uterine fibroids is pain, including:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Pain that gets worse before or during your period
- Pain with sex
- Pain with urination or bowel movements
- Back pain
- Leg pain
The pain may range from mild, occasional aches to deep pain that’s nearly constant.
Other symptoms of fibroids
Pain isn’t the only symptom of fibroids. You might also experience:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual periods lasting longer than seven days
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
- Pelvic pressure
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sejour and our team.
Your treatment options for painful fibroids
Fibroids that don’t cause symptoms rarely need treatment. But if fibroid pain disrupts your life, you shouldn’t suffer in silence. Our team offers a variety of fibroid treatments, including:
Over-the-counter pain relievers
For mild pain, Dr. Sejour may suggest over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. You can take pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed to reduce discomfort. This treatment is particularly effective for women who usually experience only mild fibroid pain around their menstrual periods.
Many common contraceptives can relieve painful fibroid symptoms and manage heavy menstrual bleeding.
Depending on your needs, Dr. Sejour might prescribe oral birth control pills, birth control injections, or an intrauterine device (IUD). Birth control won’t make fibroids get larger, and it’s safe to use the medications long term.
Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHas)
Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHas) are another type of prescription medication to treat fibroids. GnRHas are available as injections, implants, or nasal sprays.
The medication shrinks fibroids, and it also stops menstruation for most women. Dr. Sejour generally recommends GnRHas as a short-term solution for fibroid symptoms, because the drug can cause bone thinning.
Surgery for fibroids
If your fibroids cause moderate to severe pain, you might be a good candidate for fibroid surgery. Myomectomy removes fibroids and leaves the rest of your uterus intact, making it the best option for most women who want the option to get pregnant in the future.
If you’re not planning future pregnancies, Dr. Sejour might recommend endometrial ablation or hysterectomy.
Ablation permanently destroys the lining of your uterus and stops or slows your menstrual periods. Hysterectomy involves surgically removing your uterus, and it’s the only way to ensure new fibroids don’t grow in the future.
You don’t have to live with fibroid pain. Book an appointment at Solace Women's Care to get a diagnosis and find relief. Contact us online or call our office in Conroe, Texas, at 936-441-7100.